Oakridge outmuscled by GR Catholic in girls regional title game, 56-39

By Dave Hart

FREMONT – The Oakridge girls basketball team had a great run this season, but in the end the Eagles were outmuscled by Grand RapidsLSJ Logo incert Catholic Central and its powerful post player, Kyra Bussell.

Bussell, a 6-1 center, dominated in the paint and poured in 25 points Thursday, propelling the Cougars to a 56-39 victory over Oakridge in the Class B regional finals at Fremont High School.

Grand Rapids Catholic captured its second straight regional title and qualified for next week’s state quarterfinals.

Oakridge, which won its fifth straight West Michigan Conference title this season, finished the season 20-3.

Sophia Wiard goes for two Eagle points. Photo/Sherry Wahr

Sophia Wiard goes for two Eagle points. Photo/Sherry Wahr

“We knew they (GRCC) were going to throw the ball into the post,” said Oakridge Coach Terry DeJonge, whose team reached the regionals round for the first time in 25 years. “Tonight they were a better team that worked in the post and did a great job.

“I will be proud in maybe a little while but right now it obviously hurts. We are going to lose some great seniors, but we have a great nucleus coming back that is going to learn from this experience.

“As far as scrappiness and playing with heart, I will take these girls over anybody, they are really tough.”

Junior Hannah Reinhold paced the Eagles with 14 points on the night, while freshman Sophia Wiard added 13.

Oakridge seniors McKenzie Davis and Brandy Weaver showed a great deal of poise in their final high school contest, absorbing a lot of hits and keeping their teammates’ heads held high.

The Cougars’ Sophia Karasinski and Bussell scored seven and six points, respectively, during the first quarter, allowing GRCC to take a 15-6 lead at the first break.

The Eagles opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run on baskets from Reinhold and Weaver and two free throws from Wiard.

But GRCC scored the final four points of the half and led 19-12 at intermission.

The Cougars outscored Oakridge 13-10 during the third quarter and led 32-22 heading into the fourth.

GRCC converted 16 of 21 free throws during the fourth quarter to ice the win.

Karasinski added 15 points for the Cougars while Shaniya Huggins chipped in eight, including a team-leading six free throws during the fourth quarter.

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